As most of you know, I grew up in Texas. That's not wholly significant to anyone unless they, too, grew up in Texas. You see, when you grow up in Texas it's very easy to believe that Texas is all there is. It's a mindset propagated not only by the sheer size of the state, but by the residents as well. Nothing is bigger than Texas, nothing is better than Texas, and if you don't believe that, weeeeeell, then you're not from Texas. I was nine before I realized that there was anything other than an abyss of darkness bordering our great state. And, like most great revelations in my life, it came from the television. In 1982, I wandered into the living room after clearing the dinner dishes to find my mom, her feet propped up on the old coffee table, watching a new sitcom. I can still remember the theme song. I stood there in front of the tele, mesmerized by the lush green mountains and breathtaking views trawling across the tv screen. In rapt wonder I thought surely I was seeing scenes from Heaven. I waited patiently for the name of this modern day Eden to be shown to me. Eventually my vigilance was rewarded...Newhart. It was Newhart. It wasn't a ground breaking tv show, let's face it, what sitcom is? But I dearly loved it. Actually, no, scratch that. I don't even think I ever watched an entire episode; although to this day I can just hear the phrase "I'm Larry, this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl." Every Monday night at 8:30, I would sit on the old blue couch and imagine myself in that very beautiful place. It would be nearly a year before I learned that this oasis I so desired was actually named Vermont, and not, in fact, Newhart. My life changed that year. I think in that very moment I outgrew Texas. I read every book I could get my hands on about Vermont. I poured over pictures for hours, losing myself in elaborate daydreams of some day owning my own cozy little Bed & Breakfast. I told anyone who would listen, to the great horror of my parents, that someday I would live in Vermont. I'm pretty sure my parents were nearly excommunicated for that statement. Of course, life went on, and through the years I've learned that oftentimes you don't dictate to life where you will live, life just sort of takes you where it will. I spent 28 years in Texas, and although I did find many things of beauty and interest there, I never lost my love for all things Vermont. All of this is said, so that you may aptly understand the weight of what I'm about to say next... I'M GOING TO VERMONT!!!!! Jon and are leaving tomorrow. There's a wine fest over the weekend in Killington. I've taken the day off from work, as has Jon. We'll leave in the morning when we wake up and take our time driving...we enjoy stopping at the Crowley Cheese Factory and the Vermont Country Store. It will be a leisurely drive and we'll stop when we see something that interests us. Friday night is an open wine bar and jazz band poolside, Saturday is the tasting at the top of Killington Peak (fingers crossed for good weather), Saturday night is the gala dinner w/ wine pairings and finally, on Sunday there will be a champagne brunch. Of all the places I've discovered since moving from Texas; Vermont is my favorite. It has lived up to every dream, every vision, every wistful thought...and more. It is so very peaceful there.